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Steve Ballmer: masterful interview subject

If you want to see an example of masterful interview skills, check out the following video of Steve Ballmer being interviewed about Apple’s iPhone strategy.  He starts off with: “$500! Fully subsidized! With a plan. That’s the most expensive phone in the world. And it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard which makes it not a very good email machine.” Then he moves to a discussion of all the things that the Windows Smartphone can do, notes that you can buy the Motorola Q for $99, that Microsoft is shipping millions of phones today, and concludes “I like our strategy”.

The interviewer has another try.  Undaunted he tees up a question about the success of the iPhone launch, and asks “How do you compete with that?”.  Ballmer steers the interview right back to “We’re shipping millions of phones today, and Apple is shipping none.  In six months time, they’ll be in the market with the most expensive phone ever.”

His messaging is so clear — iPhone doesn’t appeal to our customer base, it’s too expensive, and by the way we’re shipping millions of phones today already — and he doesn’t deviate one iota.  Bam bam bam. 

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Mario Vazquez January 21, 2007, 6:13 am

    I just wanted to leave a comment on this interview. I don't think Ballmer did a masterful job there. Don't get me wrong, I think the iPhone has several important flaws, but Ballmer's arguments were not very convincing. I have nothing against Microsoft, but I think Ballmer is not a very skillful spokesman.

  • Alec January 21, 2007, 7:59 am

    Ballmer is a media-trainers dream, that's all. You may not like his arguments, but the way he steers the conversation back to them is pretty exceptional.

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